Everyone wants an immersive gaming experience.
But only a few know how to get it.
The key to having an immersive gaming experience is the quality of the gaming monitor. The gaming monitor determines how high-definition and colorful your gameplay is.
Since monitors come with complex configurations, finding the right one by yourself can be daunting.
This is why we created this guide - to help you choose the best gaming monitor within minutes.
Here are our top picks for the best gaming monitors for the money:
Best Gaming Monitors in 2021: For Fast and Immersive Gameplay
LG 38Gl950G-B monitor is for those who don’t want any compromises when it comes to performance. The 38 inch ultrawide screen comes with IPS panel technology and extremely low input lag to give you an immersive and responsive gameplay.
Its 3840 x 1600, 4k resolution combined with a 21:9 aspect ratio provides unparalleled level of detail and color production.
Its high 175 Hz refresh rate and superior response times allow it to produce extraordinary motion graphics, that you rarely see on most gaming monitors. Since it is an IPS panel, it has great viewing angles. So you and your friends can watch gameplays or movies together without losing image quality when viewing it from an angle.
It also supports G-Sync variable refresh rate technology as well as FreeSync which eliminates screen tearing and provides a smooth, rich and colorful gameplay.
On the downside, its contrast ratio isn’t good and there is some visible backlight bleed. This means it is not good for viewing in dark settings. Its HDR color product is good but not great. However, its peak brightness for HDR mode is good and consistent.
It is also one sleek looking display. The RGB lights on the back of the panel make it look like it is made for gaming.
Of course, with so much to offer, it has to be expensive. But it is worth every cent that you pay.
Dell Alienware AW3418DW is for those who want performance above everything else. The monitor has an ultrawide 34” IPS panel with a sleek 1900R curve that gives you the most immersive gameplay you’ll probably ever experience.
Its low input lag ensures that your character can dominate your opponents with fast responses and its G-sync compatibility makes things smooth by eliminating screen tearing.
Its 3440 x 1440 resolution combined with 120 Hz refresh rate produces excellent colors that make you lose sense of time while playing your favorite games. Dell has in fact, created the fastest 21:9 gaming monitor in the AW3418DW. With a response time of 4 ms, this Dell monitor leaves all of its competitors way behind in the dark.
It looks awesome despite having a clean, elegant design. It doesn’t need to do anything over the top. The downside is that it doesn’t support HDR color production, even at such a steep price. However, it has an extraordinary SDR color gamut as well as SDR color volume, which provide vivid images full of rich details.
Another hard thing about the monitor is its steep price. This may restrict some gamers from buying this monitor. If you want a cost-effective alternative, check the other gaming monitors below. If you want HDR colors at a similar price, check the Dell S3220DGF monitor reviewed below.
If you like large monitors, the Samsung CRG9 is one of the best you can buy. It has a staggering 49 inches of display to provide an immersive experience like no other.
With a super ultrawide 32:9, dual QHD resolution at 5120 x 1440 pixels, this monitor is the very definition of total immersion when it comes to gaming. The 1440p resolution on the frameless monitor provides a better gaming experience than most monitors, though at a steep price.
It has a low input lag, a high refresh rate and quick response time - the three ingredients that make gameplay responsive and fluid.
On the downside, its contrast ratio is average and black uniformity isn’t good. So you may not want to use it in dark settings. Since it is a VA panel, viewing angles are average too.
To compensate for it, the monitor delivers a really good HDR color production with a wide color range in the HDR spectrum and high peak brightness to make sure you don’t miss any detail.
It handles reflections really well and because of its brightness levels, glares aren’t a problem with the CRG9. Its large screen gives you enough space to run four windows at once, which is amazing and helps with regular desktop projects.
The Dell S3220DGF is one of the best performing monitors in the mid-range segment. Its high contrast and excellent color accuracy make it good for not just gameplay but also office or daily use.
Its 32 inch screen along with 16:9 aspect ratio are just right to have a high-quality, immersive gaming experience. Its 2560 x 1440 resolution ensures you lose yourself in gaming from the get go. But it provides more than that - it supports FreeSync HDR which makes gameplay smooth and rich.
It has a good coverage of DCI-P3 color range which means you can have great HDR color production with this monitor. And its SDR color production is outstanding.
It has a low input lag and fast response time eliminates most of the motion blur in fast-paced sequences. Its contrast ratio is impressive and the black uniformity is good - so you can play in a dark room without losing colors. On the positive side, the contrast ratio ensures you can use it in a room filled with light.
On the downside, it is a VA panel and has bad viewing angles. So if you watch a video or gameplay with your mates, the colors will be lacking when viewed from the sides.
The monitor also allows a lot of customization as you can choose the pace of response times, switch between HDR modes and program shortcut keys to your favorite configuration.
Acer XFA240 is the value leader in the budget segment. There is literally no other monitor that comes close to it when it comes to affordable gaming monitors.
Its 144 fps frame rate allows gamers to enjoy smooth motion play. Even when their computer has an average graphic card, this beast can deliver a frame rate of 80-100 fps.
Its super low input lag, super fast response time and high frame rates allow you to have immersive gaming on a budget. There are many monitors twice as expensive that aren’t as fast or responsive as this beast.
It comes with five picture modes among a wide range of settings to produce the best colors of each type of use.
Although the monitor comes with HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI port, it has no USB ports. The monitor can tilt, swivel and adjust for height, which means better ergonomics. Its menu control buttons on the bottom right feel really premium. We liked that it comes with space for ventilation so that you can play for long hours without it getting heated up.
It’s great that even at this price, the company included built-in speakers to make the chair versatile. Sure, they don’t produce 3D surround sound, but they make things fun.
LG UltraGear 27GN750-B is an excellent gaming monitor which has an IPS panel with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It has a super high refresh rate of 240Hz which is amazing.
However, it is worth noting that it has super fast response times both at high refresh rates as well as 60 Hz.
It also has low input lag, which makes motion graphics smooth and fluid. This also means that whenever you press a button or command a certain action through the keyboard, the input is registered immediately and you see an instant response on the screen.
It also supports NVIDIA G-sync, which means it eliminates screen tearing to produce smooth and rich graphics. Since it is an IPS panel, it has wide viewing angles so you can watch videos, movies and gameplays together with your friends.
On the other hand, its contrast ratio isn’t good, so it doesn’t produce clear images in a dark room. However, its brightness levels are really good, so you can use it in a bright room. It also handles reflections really well. The monitor comes with HDR10 mode, but its color range isn’t wide. Due to this, its HDR color capabilities are equal to the SDR colors you see on other monitors.
ViewSonic Elite XG270 is the best G-sync gaming monitor for the money. Its 1080p resolution works really well with the 27 inch screen. It comes with good coverage of the DCI-P3 color range which is used for most of the HDR content, so you get high definition colors when you buy this monitor.
The monitor has a solid build and sleek design. It looks modern and luxurious. But its performance is even better. Its restricted use of RGB lights under the lower bezel as well as the back gives it a unique, premium feel.
On the downside, its base is really long and bulky which makes it hard to place it on smaller desks.
It overclocks to a staggering 240Hz refresh rate to provide you smooth motion graphics. Its fast response time makes sure you are always ahead of your opponents. When both combine, they produce rich, vivid and clear images full of color.
It supports FreeSync and is G-sync compatible. Both technologies work to eliminate screen tearing and produce clear motion graphics.
There are a lot of preset modes which you can choose from - both for gaming and regular desktop work. You can also program your own configuration with the two available custom presets.
The monitor has wide viewing angles given it is an IPS display. But its low contrast ratio means you can’t view images in dark settings. You can play at maximum refresh rate on this monitor - it will produce crystal clear images with little to no motion blur.
Razer Raptor 27 inch is class apart when compared to similar gaming monitors. It comes with a crystal clear display and its 1440p resolution makes your gameplay full of rich colors.
Its design is outstanding - it is clean, elegant and compelling. The subtle RGB light at the base gives it a vibrant look. It also comes with dedicated channels for clean cable management.
Its 2560 x 1440p resolution, IPS panel technology, mind-blowing low input lag and excellent response time delivers images with clarity and color.
But it needs to be calibrated for good color accuracy. Without it, its color accuracy is very bad. It comes with FreeSync variable refresh rate technology and it is also NVIDIA certified to be G-sync compatible. So it eliminates screen tearing effectively, producing rich and clear graphics.
It also has excellent HDR color range, so you can view different types of content in high definition. Its HDR colors are amazing, so you will have a color rich and vivid gameplay. Its SDR color gamut is also impressive. Its color accuracy is excellent but needs calibration. Without it, the color accuracy is average at best.
It also has great viewing angles. So watching movies or gameplays with your friends is easy since it looks amazing from all angles. Its low input lag time of just 1.7 ms makes for fast and responsive gameplay.
The Samsung 27-inch Odyssey G7 QHD is an amazing monitor that comes with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, and a VA panel with 1000R curve.
It comes with quick response times and high refresh rates reaching a staggering 240 Hz. because of the VA panel technology, its viewing angles aren’t good. So when viewed from the side, the display doesn’t preserve its original colors.
Its WQHD resolution is better than FHD. In fact, it has 1.7 times higher pixel density than a Full HD display. However, it comes with a very deep curve which may be cool with hardcore gamers but not for other folks. We still believe it is good for those looking for an immersive gaming experience. There is a RGB ring on the back that looks classy and gives it a cool gaming vibe.
It gets adaptive sync from both AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s G-sync technologies. This eliminates screen tearing and delivers smooth images. The monitor can also be adjusted for better ergonomics - it can tilt, pivot, swivel and be adjusted for height.
The G7 has a better contrast ratio than similar monitors which means you can play games in dark settings without losing colors or detail. It also has really good color accuracy out of the box. So even without calibration, you can see its power.
ASUS TUF VG27AQ is a compelling option for those looking for an immersive gaming experience. It offers 1440p resolution and 155 Hz refresh rate which delivers smooth and fast graphics full of colors.
It also has low input lag, thanks to ASUS’ GameFast technology. It is an IPS panel, so viewing angles are good for watching gameplay or movies with friends and family. The display is not curved like other monitors, it is flat. But it still looks appealing.
It can overclock to 165 Hz to offer smooth graphics. It also has G-sync compatibility, so it uses adaptive sync to eliminate screen tearing and delivers smooth and fast gaming experience. In addition, it also supports AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate technology that makes things even better in this area.
The display can tilt, swivel and adjust for height - things that provide better ergonomics. You can also change it to portrait mode. To provide clean cable management, ASUS has positioned all the ports on a single side. It also comes with built-in speakers - they are decent, but aren’t loud enough from a gamer’s point of view.
Its brightness levels are good - in SDR mode, the brightness is extraordinary. In HDR mode, the peak brightness is decent, but not great. Also, the HDR brightness level doesn’t qualify it for the VESA certification, which means its a bad HDR implementation.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Gaming Monitor
You need to know what you will use the monitor for. If it is for hardcore gaming, then you should look for a display with high refresh rates, best response times and the best technology. If you want to use it for professional use as well as some light gaming, just find a monitor with accurate color production.
What makes some displays vivid and rich and others lacking all those qualities? The answer is resolution. Screen resolution, in simple words, is the number of pixels (units of display area) the display has. For example, 1920 x 1080 resolution or 1080p is the minimum you should aim for as a gamer. This resolution is Full HD and produces rich and smooth images.
You can go for higher resolution such as QHD which is 1440p or 2560 x 1440 pixels. Since QHD comes in 16:9 aspect ratio, which is considered wide, some brands label these monitors as WQHD.
You can also go beyond that and buy a UHD or 5K monitor but you will have to pay top dollar, of course.
The first thing to check is the panel technology - OLED, IPS, VA or TN. OLED is the most expensive technology, so most gamers go for IPS or VA displays. For gaming purposes, an IPS panel is better than VA and VA is better than a TN panel. OLED is a whole different beast, but very expensive too.
TN is the oldest type of panel technology. They have super fast response times ranging from 1 ms to 2 ms, but their color quality and viewing angles aren’t good. Their USP is that they provide a lag-free gaming experience which is required for fast-paced games.
You should choose a TN panel to get the best gaming performance for money. It will allow you to play fast action-packed games such as racing or first person shooter games at a cheaper price.
The tradeoff will be narrow viewing angles so colors won’t be accurate when viewed from the sides. However, for a hardcore gamer on a budget, this doesn’t matter as one usually sits directly in front of the screen.
VA Panels have the best contrast ratios which means whites look whiter and blacks look more black. This allows you to use VA monitors in well-lit rooms. They also have better refresh rates than IPS panels generally, but their biggest downside is their slow response times. So you cannot use them in games like shooting FPS games because of motion blur, since such games require an instant response to a certain keyboard command.
These panels are good for users who play single player games where speed or responsiveness isn’t a key driving factor to winning the game. So if you don’t care about a large screen or color accuracy as much as speed and responsiveness on a budget, go for a TN panel.
IPS panels are made for the best color production - their color accuracy is the best among all panel types. They have also higher color depth, which means the different color gradients can easily be differentiated, they don’t look the same. While TN panels have 6-bit RGB color depth, IPS panels have 8-bit RGB color depth, which makes their color more rich and vivid.
They have high contrast ratios so you can use them in well-lit rooms. They also have great viewing angles, so no matter which angle you view an IPS display from, it will be rich with its original colors.
Because of these features, IPS is the go-to panel type gamers choose for their gaming setups.
IPS panels also come with less than average black uniformity. So viewing images in dark rooms becomes difficult. Another drawback of IPS panels is that they have typically slower response times. So unless they are supported by a high refresh rate, you won’t be able to play fast-paced, action-packed games because of the motion blur.
Apart from the panel type, you also need to check the screen size. Monitors come in varying sizes including 27 inches, 32 inches and more. Note that the larger the size, the more space it takes on your desk. But larger size monitors are also much more expensive, so you need to keep your budget in mind as well.
So what size is good enough? For immersive gaming or even light gaming, 27-inch size is good enough. However, some hardcore gamers want to have an extravagant setup and of course, the bigger screen makes things more exciting.
If you want to have smooth and vivid gameplay, go for higher refresh rates. So what do we mean by refresh rate?
Refresh rate is the speed at which displays update new images. Although users aren’t able to detect it, a screen changes as much as 240 times per second. If you want to beat your opponents, a high refresh rate can often help you win single-handedly.
Monitors that are meant for gamers come with at least 120 Hz of refresh rate. Some, like the LG 27GN750-B even go up to 240Hz, which is amazing. When playing first person shooter games or the likes, even a split second difference counts. Therefore, high refresh rates come into play. On the other hand, for occasional and lightweight gaming, even 60 Hz is enough.
Response time is the time a display takes to change the color of the pixels. It is measured from one gray level to another gray level - which is the time taken by a pixel to go from gray to gray.
If the response time is long, it means the motion can be blurry and lacking in details. Slow response times can also cause ghosting, in which a silhouette moves behind the object like a shadow.
If you are playing fast-paced games such as racing or shooting games, motion blur can cause delay and have you suffer a loss. For the purpose of gaming, a response time of 5 ms is excellent. However, there are gaming monitors that come with response times as fast as 0.5 ms.
Input lag is defined as the time between the time when an image is generated by a source and the time when it appears on the screen. The lower the input lag, the more responsive a display is.
So if you want to see the reaction of your input on screen really quickly, choose a monitor with really low input lag. When used in the context of a mouse, the input lag is the time between a physical mouse movement and the corresponding cursor movement on screen.
So if you want to play fast-paced games that require constant input, make sure to choose a monitor with a low input lag.
G-Sync vs FreeSync Technology
G-Sync and FreeSync technologies have the same purpose: they are adaptive sync technologies meant to sync the monitor’s refresh cycle with the frame rate of the graphic card of your computer. Monitors with G-Sync technology work with NVIDIA graphic cards while FreeSync works with AMD graphic cards.
Experts suggest that G-sync technology is slightly better than FreeSync and it also supports better HDR quality because of a feature called dynamic tone mapping.
It is also worth noting that G-Sync monitors are costlier than FreeSync monitors. This is because they come with additional hardware to support their function. The price difference between the two is usually a hundred bucks.
G-sync monitors also have better blur reduction and eliminate screen tearing more effectively as compared to FreeSync monitors.
If you are a gamer, curved monitors will provide a better gameplay since they make it more immersive and put less strain on your eyes. Make sure that the curved monitor isn’t too curved because then it gets hard to do regular desktop work on it.
Curved monitors often come in high screen resolution as well screen size which makes them more expensive. Also, you need to know how the curvature of a display works. Displays can be 1000R, that is, having a curved radius of 1000mm or higher such as 1800R, having a curved radius of 1800mm. The lower the radius, the more curved the monitor is - and we don’t recommend that you get a monitor that is too curved.
So there you have it - a list of the best gaming monitors money can buy no matter what your budget is.
There are many great monitors in this list but the right one for you depends on what you want from it and how much your budget is.
Our top pick is the LG 38GL950G-B because of its high resolution, high refresh rates and fast response times among other things. If you aren’t limited by budget, this is a compelling option.
If you want the best budget gaming monitor, check the Acer XFA240, the value leader in our books. It produces high frame rates even with average graphic cards and is super responsive, more so than its competitors.